Right next to the entrance to Knott’s Berry Farm stands the thrill, so to speak, that started it all: Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant, an updated version of the farm stand and restaurant that was the inspiration for the park itself.
In 1934 Walter Knott’s wife Cordelia opened a tea shop next to her husband’s boysenberry farm stand, selling slices of boysenberry pie and then adding fried-chicken dinners on Sundays. By the 1940s the lines for the Sunday dinners had become so long that the Knotts built an Old West attraction next to it to keep their waiting customers occupied—and the early version of Knott’s Berry Farm theme park was born.
Since Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner still sits outside the park entrance, you don’t even have to go into the theme park to enjoy a meal there, though the sound of the roller coasters might prove too tempting. Either way, the classic dinner is largely the same: three pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, a choice of cabbage or cherry rhubarb, and biscuits, accented with boysenberry preserves (and then, of course, pie for dessert, or you can substitute boysenberry sherbet). The menu also includes crowd-pleasers such as big salads and open-faced sandwiches, and the new bar includes beer, wine, and boysenberry-infused cocktails. The expanded interior of the restaurant channels some of that country tea-shop ambience, but with warm wood floors and a farmhouse-chic aesthetic. Or, head next door to Chicken to Go, where you can get takeout of fried chicken, whole pies, or a dozen fresh biscuits.